I was raised with the moral code, “if you don’t have something nice to say about someone, then don’t say anything at all.”
That’s a problem, I came to find out. God says point blank, “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up” (Eph 4:15)… and that meant I had to learn some truth is so “not nice”, it must be said – especially when it feels like it can’t be said. In fact, to not mention it is practically lying, depending on how bad things are. Abuse definitely falls in this category.
To quote a friend of mine, “there’s no use planting daisies ‘round a dead rat.” Which is to say, there’s not enough Pretty to cover up Stink.
If you are reading this, and you’re afraid to keep reading – then this is for you, dear one.
One of the dynamics in our marriage was abuse. This is part of our testimony, because it is something Jesus is saving us from. And I do mean “is saving” because we are a work in progress. “When I am tempted to hide or disguise the circumstances of my life when grace was most evident against the background of my sin, let me instead point to my failures to say, “Look what grace did!” (Jennifer Kennedy Dean) That’s us.
“I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable….” Paul. (Acts 20:20)
I promised God I would not shrink from declaring to you anything profitable from my own story, as we’ve faced hidden disabilities. (And that in itself is an act of God in my life, I’m here to tell you.) This principle also helped rescue our marriage. I finally did not shrink back from declaring anything that could be profitable to my mate’s health (and by association, the health of our marriage and family). Ultimately, this meant I finally told the truth about the abuse.
Yes, in our case, as most, there were many factors making abuse possible. No, I am not going to address all of them in 500 words or less. I am not that smart, and you would not be that edified. But I am going to tell you two of the reasons I allowed abuse:
I believed the hidden disability caused the abuse, so it was unavoidable, and love required I tolerate it.
Then, I hid the abuse because I felt it would dishonor my husband to disclose it, and God wouldn’t want that. I was wrong on so many levels….
With such terrible logic, damage kept occurring to our marriage and family (obviously). Just because chemistry, temperament, heritage (to name a few) prompted reactions, it did not make the words or actions any less harmful. A broken leg is going to hurt and require medical attention, regardless of how it got broke … there’s no getting around it. It was foolish for me (and him) to pretend otherwise. It just about split me in two.
You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. (Ps 51:6) Truth, not duplicity.
Let me be clear: I have no idea where all the lines for disability, sin, and choice intersect. God alone can and will judge that.
But I do know God loved both of us too much to support anything that damaged either of us. Period. Regardless of diagnosis. Like Him, we now love each other too much to hide the behaviors that harm. When they occur, we seek help.
My husband and I both long for you to know this – God does not support anyone abusing you, regardless of diagnosis. True, your relationship(s) may not survive telling the truth. But if there is abuse present, it will not survive anyway. That’s a given. Might as well give your relationship its only chance – speak the truth in love and get whatever help you need to break free. Please.
My heart is full on this topic, but I will wait to hear if this raises any questions in your mind. Let me know.
Loving and being loved,